The last thing Taylor Gruenwald ’16 wanted to do was end up in a bubble. The Cincinnati native loved her hometown, but, like many students, she was eager to earn her degree in an environment that exposed her to unfamiliar people, places and areas of study. The Ohio State University didn’t disappoint.
Gruenwald spent all four years living in the Evans Scholar House on East 16th Street, where she encountered a friendly group of people who represented diverse backgrounds, skill sets and interests. The one thing the residents had in common was their years of caddying prior to attending college.
“By living in the Evans House, I formed close friendships with people I might not have interacted with otherwise,” Gruenwald says. “It was such a valuable learning experience to bring all these different people together.”
Gruenwald has parlayed her learning varied experiences into professional success. She is currently a developer with The Model Group, an integrated property development, construction and management company. In 2020, Gruenwald earned acclaim for her viral TikTok videos which chronicle her journey rehabbing her third-generation family home.
Her experiences at Ohio State were foundational to these successes.
As an Evans Scholar, Gruenwald volunteered alongside her fellow residents to undertake community-based volunteering projects, including street cleanup and caddying at local golf tournaments. Since Evans House is a co-ed service fraternity, residents also participated in Greek life by working as cleanup assistants in the kitchens of Chi Omega and Delta Gamma. Twice a year, they hopped on a charter bus to Chicago to attend a golf outing and banquet with chapters from all over the country.
“Getting to know Evans Scholars from everywhere was one of the major highlights of my time at Ohio State,” Gruenwald says. "What I love most about Ohio State is that there are endless options to find your niche."
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Gruenwald forged strong ties to her fellow Evans Scholars, but she also made close friends as co-leader of the City and Regional Planning Student Association. On the weekends, the association planned trips to local cities to learn from architecture and historical tours. When she wasn’t out of town, she expanded her social circle playing intramural flag football and soccer. “One of the advantages of going to Ohio State is that you don’t necessarily have to be involved in Greek life to have a solid group of friends,” she says.
In her academic life, as well as in her extracurriculars, Gruenwald took advantage of the freedom to explore her options. She entered as a pre-med biochemistry student before recognizing the pre-med path was a poor fit. At that point, she decided to spend a semester taking a variety of classes to discover what captured her interest. “That’s when I took my first city and regional planning class and fell in love with it,” she says. She also took a social work class and an Excel class for business majors, both of which have provided useful tools and perspectives in her budding career as a developer.
“If you come into Ohio State thinking you want to do one thing and change your mind, like I did, there are so many other offerings to explore,” she says. “What I love most about Ohio State is that there are endless options to find your niche. Whether it’s academic or extracurricular, there’s something for everyone here.”